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Satpal Singh gets Padma Bhushan; Sardar Singh, P V Sindhu and Arunima Sinha given Padma Shri

Satpal Singh New Delhi, March 30 (IANS) Former Asian Games gold medal-winning wrestler Satpal — who has coached two-time Olympic medal winne ...

Satpal Singh

New Delhi, March 30 (IANS)

Former Asian Games gold medal-winning wrestler Satpal -- who has coached two-time Olympic medal winner Sushil Kumar -- was honoured on Monday with the country's prestigious Padma Bhushan award by President Pranab Mukherjee at a civil investiture ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

Apart from Satpal, national hockey team captain Sardar Singh, two-time badminton World Championships bronze medallist P.V. Sinhdu and Arunima Sinha -- the first woman amputee mountaineer to climb Mount Everest in 2013 -- were conferred the Padma Shri awards.

The Padma awards, which are generally announced on the eve of Republic Day every year, had named five sportspersons for the Padma Shri awards. At the investiture ceremony on Monday, Sardar, Sindhu and Arunima were honoured.

The names of other two sportswomen -- former women's hockey captain Saba Anjum and Indian cricket team skipper Mithali Raj -- were not there in the official list that was released by the Press Information Bureau on Monday.

The 59-year-old Satpal is a trail-blazing figure in Indian wrestling, winning the bronze medal in the 1974 Asian Games and then improving his performance by striking gold in the 1982 Asiad held here.

Continuing his contribution for the country's ancient sport, he established an 'akhada' in Chhatrasal Stadium, which produced Sushil, who also became a world champion in 2010.

Sixteen-time national champion Satpal was conferred the Arjuna Award in 1974, Padma Shri in 1983, and the Dronacharya award in 2009 in a glittering career both as a player and coach.

An elated Sardar said: "It is a great honour for me and I would take this opportunity to thank Hockey India for giving me the support which boosted my morale."

"Also, I must give credit of my success to the coaches, who have guided me and tirelessly worked with me during my journey in hockey. I am proud to have been received this award and will work harder to get more laurels for Indian Hockey," the 28-year-old who captained the team to Asian Games gold after 16 years, said.

Under the talismanic centre-half Sardar's captaincy, India also defeated Wold Champions Australia 3-1 in a Test series Down Under and also won the silver at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. He has represented India in more than 200 international matches.

Badminton protege Sindhu's most notable performance last year was winning the bronze at the Copenhagen World Championships. With the medal, she became the first and only Indian ever to win two World medals, that too back-to-back in the sport's most prestigious tournament.

The teenager maintained a top-10 ranking for most of the year and also reached the finals of India Grand Prix Gold in Lucknow in January 2014. However, she peaked when she won the Macau Open GP Gold crown in November. The Hyderabadi also consistently defeated top players and backed it up with the Commonwealth Games silver.

"I am so happy to receive the Padma Shri award from the Hon. President of India. so happy #Excited# unbelievable#" Sindhu wrote on Twitter.

Arunima was a national volleyball player who was pushed out of a running train by thieves in 2011 while resisting them. One of her legs was amputated below the knee as a result.

While still being treated in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here, she resolved to climb Mount Everest. She contacted Bachendri Pal, the first Indian woman to climb Mount Everest, in 2011 and signed up for training under her at the Uttarkashi camp of the Tata Steel Adventure Foundation (TSAF) in 2012.

With a prosthetic leg, Arunima climbed Island Peak (6150 metres) in eastern Nepal in 2012 as preparation for her ascent of Everest.

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